Biographical Sketch of Florence Etheridge

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Florence Etheridge, 1878-1946

By Rebecca Durgin, Graduate Student, Smithsonian-Mason MA in the History of Decorative Arts

Florence Etheridge - President of the State Equal Suffrage Association of the District of Columbia and Originator of the Inaugural Suffrage Parade

Florence Etheridge was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on September 20, 1878 to Samuel W. and Emma A. (Nichols) Etheridge. Florence grew up in Boston and Everett, Massachusetts with her parents and sister.

Florence was formally educated in Washington, D.C. at the Columbian University. She completed her law studies at the Washington College of Law receiving her Bachelor of Laws in 1910 and her Master of Laws in 1911. She became a member of the bar of the District of Columbia soon after graduating. Florence served as the President of the State Equal Suffrage Association of the District of Columbia. Florence is credited as being the originator of the Inaugural Suffrage Parade. She offered the idea of a procession to the National American Women Suffrage Association's convention that was held in Philadelphia in 1912. For the parade, she served as the Chairman of the Finance and Organization of the Suffrage Clubs of the District of Columbia.

While practicing law in Washington, D.C. for several years, Florence worked at the Census Bureau, the Department of Commerce, and the Division of Education. During her last five years in Washington, she was employed in the Office of Indian Affairs. Florence began to practice law before the United States Supreme Court on January 29, 1915. In the February 26, 1918 issue of the Washington Times, Florence was mentioned as representing the National Federation of Federal Employees as their fourth vice president speaking in front of the House Subcommittee of Congress. Florence voiced her opinion on equal pay for women in stating, "There is an ‘unconscious' discrimination against women" she continued to say, "by the operation of an old prejudice of sex." These statements were in support of her lifelong belief of women's rights to vote and to hold public office.

In 1918, she was listed as a member of the American Economic Association and that she was living in Vinita, Oklahoma at that time. On June 3, 1918, Florence was approved to practice law before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Florence moved to Wewoka in Seminole County, Oklahoma in 1920. In 1921, Florence married Thomas Samuel (T.S.) Cobb, a member of the bar and a judge in Seminole County. In 1922, Florence served the National Woman's Party as the Chairman for Oklahoma.

T.S. Cobb passed away in May, 1929. After her husband's death, she continued to publish and write for the weekly magazine, The Gossip, that T.S. had established. Florence wrote articles, poems, and her opinions on topics of public interest for the magazine. From 1934 to 1937, Florence served as a municipal judge for the city of Wewoka. She also became a Justice of the Peace in 1940. Florence Etheridge Cobb died in 1946. She was eulogized in an obituary as having the qualities of a "good mind, clear thinker and had the courage of her convictions."

Sources:

Beer Janet, Anne-Marie Ford and Katherine Joslin, eds. American Feminism: Key Source Documents, 1848-1920, Volume 1: Suffrage. (London: Routledge, 2003).
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Blackwell, Alice Stone. The Woman Citizen, Volume 3. Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission, 1918.
https://books.google.com/books?id=KtMRAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=florence+etheridge+attorney+at+law+washington+dc&source=bl&ots=-34WL45GSW&sig=pzGEEaFXVX7rJ17FLub9I0zo2Ow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCp9n_oI_WAhVPxCYKHcsOD_AQ6AEIRTAG#v=onepage&q=florence%20etheridge%20attorney%20at%20law%20washington%20dc&f=false.

Carver, H.W. "Necrology: Florence E. Cobb." Chronicles of Oklahoma. July 29, 1946.
http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v025/v025p072.pdf.

Cobb and Cobbs. "Florence Etheridge." accessed October 25, 2017.
http://cobbandcobbs.com/spc/setn/clisby_dbase/d0001/g0000013.html.

Guthrie Daily Leader. (Guthrie, OK), January 2, 1927. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86063952/1917-01-02/ed-1/seq-3/.

"List of Members." The American Economic Review 9, no. 3 (1919): 5-66.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1804090.

Lutheran Church. American Lutheran Survey: Weekly Review of World Progress and Problems from the Positive Christian Standpoint. April 24, 1918. Volume VIII, No. 1. (Columbia, SC: Lutheran Survey Publishing Company, 1918).
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Marquis, Albert Nelson, ed. Who's Who in America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of the United States, Volume IX, 1916-1917. (Chicago: A.N. Marquis and Company, 1916).
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Prabook. "Florence Etheridge Cobb." accessed October 24, 2017.
http://prabook.com/web/person-view.html?profileId=1406874.

Shepard, Vinton R., ed. The Ohio Law Reporter: A Weekly Journal, Volume XVI. (Cincinnati, OH: The Ohio Law Reporter Company, 1919).
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Washington Times. (Washington, DC), March 22, 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1913-03-22/ed-1/seq-16/.

Washington Times. (Washington DC), February 26, 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
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Women Lawyers' Journal, Volumes 1-4. Women Lawyers' Club, 1911. accessed September 5, 2017.
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Women Lawyers' Journal, Volumes 9-12. Women Lawyers' Club, 1919. accessed October 24, 2017.
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Woman Suffrage Procession, Washington, D.C. Official program woman suffrage procession. Washington, D. C. March 3, 1913. Washington, 1913. Library of Congress. accessed September 5, 2017. https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.20801600/.

Images:

Image 1: Florence Etheridge.
Source: Guthrie Daily Leader. (Guthrie, OK), January 2, 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86063952/1917-01-02/ed-1/seq-3/.

Image 2: Miss Florence Etheridge.
Source: The Washington Times. (Washington DC), February 26, 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1918-02-26/ed-1/seq-1/.

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